It’s great to see a new blog post from Craig Ball, even better when it promotes a terrific guide from him. His latest is about Being the Better Expert Witness!
Craig’s blog post provides a few excerpts from his excellent guide, which is an easy to read 13 pages of terrific, plain English, common sense tips about (wait for it!) being the better expert witness. Since Craig provided a few excerpts from the guide in his blog post, I’ll provide a couple of different ones here to give you a flavor of the guide.
The Trick to Being a Good Witness isn’t Tricky
Novice witnesses imagine there’s a system they can follow to stay out of trouble on the stand, but no battle plan survives an encounter with the enemy. There are no “tricks” to testifying, except to prepare carefully, listen to the questions asked, answer the questions asked, stick to what you know and tell the truth. The corollaries are, don’t imagine you can “wing it,” don’t anticipate the question, don’t answer the question you think the examiner meant to ask, don’t overreach your expertise, and don’t try to snow the lawyers, the judge, or the jury.
Stay above the Fray
Nailing the bad guy isn’t the point—not for you. You are the digital translator, not the prosecutor. The evidence speaks through you, and justice demands you not omit or embellish. As an expert witness, you are not an advocate for either side. That’s the lawyers’ role. You are an advocate for your own findings and opinions. You can and should vigorously support and defend the skill and integrity of your forensic process and of your reporting and the expert opinions you’ve drawn. Winning the case is not your objective. The only “win” for you is that the judge and jury listened to you, understood you and believed you.
Hopefully, that gives you some idea of the great advice that Craig provides in Being the Better Expert Witness, which is something he knows a lot about. Check out his terrific guide here! Thanks for the great advice, Craig!
So, what do you think? Have you ever testified as an expert witness before? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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